Some albums have a definite ‘mood’; others are a mere collection of songs. Merit is exclusive to neither. With Gracious Tide, Take Me Home, Newcastle sextet Lanterns On The Lake have created a record so self-assured, so astute at capturing that magical and subjective thing called mood that at times it feels akin to being regaled with stories of love, loss and watery death by a grizzly sea captain, as you sip chicken broth in front of a roaring fire. This is a wizened old owl of a record, designed to comfort even the most shattered of hearts. It’s all the more astonishing when you take into consideration this is their debut long-player. As you can tell, I quite like it.

Hazel Wilde and co. have had various comparisons thrown their way since they emerged phoenix-like from the ashes of previous incarnation Greenspace back in 2008 – Mazzy Star, Arcade Fire, Low. Strains of Win Butler and his merry band of indie preachers can perhaps be heard fleetingly in the pounding drums and driving fiddle of ‘A Kingdom’, but it’s to the later that Lanterns On The Lake most often refer, especially on the gentle balladry of ‘Blanket Of Leaves’ and ‘If I’ve Been Unkind’, sung by guitarist Adam Sykes. His voice blends beautifully with Wilde’s as soaring strings rain down in gut-wrenching fashion. ‘Keep On Trying’ is similarly pretty.

’Lungs Quicken’, released as a single back in June, starts with some nice fluttering electronics before mutating into the kind of euphoric choral-pop that wouldn’t sound out of place on an I Break Horses, or even a Sigur Ros, record. A xylophone taps out an uplifting riff (can you riff on a xylophone?) as Wilde repeats the mantra – “lungs, please breathe for me/ heart, just beat for me/wings, take speed for me”. It’s a welcome change of pace on a record that is, should you wish to pick holes in it, sometimes in danger of becoming a touch too sentimental, too soppy (as on the forgettable ‘The Places We Call Home’).

Things take a turn for the nautical with the introduction of two short sea shanties, the second of which, ‘Ships In The Rain’, is by far the album’s highlight. Inspired by tragic events off the Northeast coast, it’s as if the band has been specially commissioned to soundtrack the funeral procession of the sailor who’ll "never come home." He is it seems, resigned to his fate: "My body’s an anchor, I’m lost to the sea…their whistles are blowing, they’re looking for me/like an orchestra playing as I sink to the deep."

'Tricks' feels like a natural end to the record, however it’s left to recent album teaser ‘You’re Almost There’ to close the show. On it’s own, ‘You’re Almost There’ sounds magnificent, Wilde’s croaky delivery combining with swelling synths and a mournful piano figure to create something achingly effective. Up against songs of this depth and sonic strength, it sounds a little out of place and underdeveloped. Could it have come earlier? Minor running order gripes aside, this is a wonderful record, one which I fully expect to get me through the coming autumn and winter months, like the body fat of a hibernating mammal or a long-forgotten love letter clutched close to the skin encasing a freshly wounded heart.